Computer simulations by Hui-Tian Wang at Nankai University in Tianjin, China, and colleagues have shown that the compressed material could be at least partly made of bct-carbon, which is built up from rings of four carbon atoms. Bct-carbon has attributes of both diamond, which has a cubic structure, and graphite, composed of loosely linked sheets of carbon atoms in a hexagonal lattice. In bct-carbon, layers of carbon rings are linked by strong vertical bonds.
Physics Review B- Ab initio study of the formation of transparent carbon under pressure
A body-centered tetragonal carbon (bct-carbon) allotrope has been predicted to be a transparent carbon polymorph obtained under pressure. The structural transition pathways from graphite to diamond, M-carbon, and bct-carbon are simulated and the lowest activation barrier is found for the graphite-bct transition. Furthermore, bct-carbon has a higher shear strength than diamond due to its perpendicular graphenelike structure. Our results provide a possible explanation for the formation of a transparent carbon allotrope via the cold compression of graphite. We also verify that this allotrope is hard enough to crack diamond.
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